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Friday 20-Nov-2015
哪一天我們再飛?英國留學生集體回憶錄

現已踏入我離開英國的第五個年頭。每次回去,百感交雜。這次,我與一群放完期中假的學生一起回去。良久沒回英國,有種思鄉之感。我身旁坐著一位從沒留學英國的朋友,對談中,我發現許多事只有在英國留學過的學生才會明白。
 

永遠超重的行李

無論你購買學生票、經濟艙,或是有Marco Polo,Asia Miles之類的優惠,你的行李箱總是超重。即使你已盡可能有條理地把東西塞進行李箱,並將大部分的衣物放下,但似乎沒甚幫助。


 
作為香港學生,早已知道去英國學校要帶甚麼行李。必須包括即食麵(大量),罐頭食物,零食和雜誌(你會驚訝演藝圈最新消息和八卦新聞對你的重要性)。其實帶甚麼的準則很簡單,所有能夠解決苦悶和飢餓的物品。
 


上述的東西以外,我亦見過同學們像搬運一個市集去英國,當中包括電飯煲,暖器,風扇,麻將,麻將桌,甚至椅子!
 


機場Last Supper

無論你在到達機場前吃了多少東西,啓航前你幾乎都會直奔翠華,太興或美心,看你是哪年代的人。我永遠都會在這些餐廳吃到飽為止,因為我知道這一別後,與這些美味佳餚就有天涯海角之隔了。


 
英國食物-炸魚薯條、香腸、薯蓉和焗豆。英國人沒有令人食指大動的烹飪,中國外賣店也沒甚麽值得留意,事實上,不少食物都遠低於標準水平。我還是建議你不要嘗試一些過於有創意的食品,最好還是食炒飯或炒麵吧。但前提是你的學校附近要有中國餐廳,否則,你唯一的選擇就是品質參差的卡巴而已。


 
而現在,我經常憶起Cathay Pacific的飛機餐,特別是往返歐亞航班的杯麵,天堂般的美味。

 


揀報紙

放假後乘飛機回英國就像是坐校車(國際性的),機上你難以看到學生以外的乘客,這種需求量將機票價格推破天際。


 
當登上飛機後, 報紙選擇琳琅滿目,從英國的雙面印刷報紙到香港的地區小報都有。而我的同學幾乎只有兩個選擇:金融時報和星島日報。這個現象主要因為Gresham’s School的男生很少會碰見中國或香港的女生,所以有機會時就扮成文藝青年,別人眼見小伙子們拿著金融時報,別具修養。至於香港的小報,總有一些扣人心弦曲折離奇的故事。

                                                                                                                                                                                              


機場天生購物狂

之前提到你需要注意行李的重量限制,不然就要額外付費。就算你清楚了解40公斤行理是你的極限,你還是會在機場買買買,最後再次超重。然而我能理解這種心態,特別是住在偏遠寄宿學校的學生,想要在香港多買各式各樣的食物也是無可厚非。


匯率也是機場購物的一個原因。我們需要比較在兩地,相同零用錢能買到的東西。在英國,20磅眨眼間就會花光,一塊Mars Bar的巧克力塊就大概需要2英鎊(約24港元)的價錢。


英國人長久以來習慣了巨型的巧克力塊,然而,我們比較喜歡有家鄉特色的零食,花費巨款買零食還是可以理解。


希斯路騷亂

有些人會認為著陸後就不會發生什麽奇怪的事情,但在入境關口排長龍後,希斯路機場還會有驚喜給國際學生。叛逆期的我或許有較奇特的衣裝被關員截停不難理解,但有趣的是,我發現海外生經常被關官叫停。學生通常在清晨到埗,過百名黑髮少年正席時差等著過關,對關員來說不是有趣的一天。


 
海關官員會盡可能地弄亂你的行李,如前面所述,我們會竭盡全力把所有東西擠進手提箱裡,不放過一分一毫的空間。海關會搞亂我和兩個姐姐花上兩小時來整理的行李,之後我還要用30分鐘來收拾殘局,整個過程感覺像不眠不休了一個多月。更重要的是,有時候帶一些特別食物進英國可能會惹來麻煩。我曾花了30分鐘試圖解釋什麼是“乾搖柱”。


 
而當我們終於到達接機大堂時,發現這裏頓變成唐人街,許多華人學生在等各自的學校來接他們。不幸的是,我們並不是唯一的國際生,所以不得不等待德國和俄羅斯等其他國際生到齊後才出發-代表著我們又要在這希斯路迷宮多走數小時 。

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Education Experts

Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.

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Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.

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MB Cheung, our senior consultant, has been writing education columns for major local newspapers for more than 25 years. With his experience and unique insights, he shares a variety of tips and advice on overseas education for the readers (and DSE students)

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#School Analysis
Considering its reputation, Oundle School may not catch up to Eton, Wycombe Abbey and else top elite schools. However, Oundle’s academic performance is among the best in the United Kingdom. As a traditional top boarding school, Oundle pays huge attentions to student’s holistic development, by providing them diversified extra-curricular activities. In addition, Oundle still implements the House Dining System, which is rarely remaining among uk boarding schools. It is also one of the reasons why Hong Kong parents making a beeline for.
The ratio of teachers and students in Bromsgrove School is 1:8, which is lower than the average among uk boarding schools. In addition, according to my school visit experience, Bromsgrove has the best facilities, that it is undoubtedly one of the best three campuses in the UK. Besides, Bromsgrove spares no expense to provide students comfortable environment, it even invests on the nearby hotel and transfers it into dormitories. As a result, students can possess the “5-star enjoyment” on campus. To conclude, Bromsgrove is definitely a prospective and globalised uk boarding school.
Brighton College is Britain’s premier private school and one of the Hong Kong parents’ favourites. To understand a boarding school, despite of looking at its educational tenet, diversified extra-curricular activities and academics results, it is essential to observe the boldness of the principal. 10 years ago, after Mr. Richard Cairns taking up the duty of the Brighton College’s principal, the school ranking raises from the 150th to the top 20th. In addition to promoting educational reformation, Mr Cairns is such a good principal, that he still strives for maintaining students’ curiosity at the same time.
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